Report supports existing housing agency structure


Vermont's Commission on Financing and Delivery of Affordable Housing and Conservation has issued its report. Its conclusion: Vermont’s housing delivery system is efficient and produces desirable results that can be a model for other states.

The eight-person commission was created by the Legislature last season to study the work of Vermont's four statewide housing organizations, including VHFA, responsible for funding organizations and individuals who provide or receive affordable housing.

At question is the impact of a possible merger of the organizations on the production of affordable housing, land conservation, and historic preservation.

The Commission heard from 50 witnesses whose testimony "was supported by numerous reports and indices showing that the Statewide Entities are doing an excellent job fulfilling their statutory missions and rank near the top nationally in terms of performance," according to the report's executive summary.

The summary continues to state, "The Commission strongly recommends not consolidating the Statewide Entities. Although all of these agencies deal with 'affordable housing,' the evidence before the Commission was clear that they have very distinct and separate missions which require different types of skills."

Part of the Commission's mandate was to review the so-called Weidner Report ("State of Vermont: Enhancing Investments in Affordable Housing"), written by consulting firm Weidner Inc. of Austin, Texas, in response to a March 2010 executive order from then-Gov. Jim Douglas. That report recommended consolidating the state's housing agencies.

The Commission's executive summary "found the Weidner Report to be of little value due to its flawed methodology and narrow scope, and because its recommendations lacked empirical support."

VHFA has posted the Commission's report, executive summary and appendices online.